tv Q A CSPAN May 26, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
and i who is the editor it supreme court of the united states, there was this thing called blogging, we called scotus blog. >> why is what you're doing necessary? >> it's amazing the supreme court is really important institution. everybody got to agree with that to the healthcare decision to affirmative action and same sex marriage. yet with all the coverage of congress and the president, there was no place that was paying complete attention to what the justice was doing. >> why do you think there's so little interest on the part of the general media and the supreme court? >> it's not a very sexy place. every once in a while it does something incredibly interesting. there is a core press core. the major newspapers pay a lot of attention to it. it's so complicated when it comes to lot of the technical
legal issues. it's hard for the public to stay engaged. >> you applied to how many law schools in the beginning? >> i guess about, sad time to remember, half a dozen or so. they thought it would be better if i pursued other opportunities. but, i had my step mother's may be second does -- cousin adjunct faculty member and went to head of faculty admission, my cousin, tom goldstein is my favorite cousin. he would be just fantastic. it was just family doing something good for family and
they let me in. i had the most unbelievable experience. i had just been kind of that stereo typical college student who enjoys life more than they enjoyed school. >> you say you've been in this business for 10 years andoff been an advocate. how many? >> 20. i basically decided -- when he was in law school i got to be intern and fell in love with the supreme court. had no idea that i would in the way that i did. when i was a fourth year lawyer, i graduated i guess in 1995 and in 1999, i just quit my job and said i'm going to be a supreme court advocate. i opened up a law firm in my house and sense then, that's all i've done for 15 years. >> was it really in the laundry room? >> it was. in the third bedroom. there was no laundry room.
it was a tiny house. it became the laundry room. we had the law firm. amy joined me at the firm and we had the law firm for, in the house probably about seven or eight years. now we have actual office space. >> so, you say that the whole scotus blog thing was a marketing ploy. >> yes, nobody was covering the supreme court on the internet. saying we're the site you should go to. at the same time i had this law practice with amy and we've been doing it for a few years. i had the brilliant insight that said look, if we cover the supreme court on the internet, people who are looking for a lawyer in the supreme court will say, gosh these people must really know what they're talking about. it had -- i thought it would be a little bit of a public service. mostly i think in those terms, turns it was a really stupid idea. nobody does that. people who need serious supreme
court counsel don't go get with a guy with a website. they want to talk about experience and how you've done and what you know about the court as a lawyer. so that didn't work out but after about three years, we hired a real reporter, lyle denniston who's been covering the court for more than 50 years. we've changed the mission completely. we said we're just turning this over to the public. very much on the ideal of something like c-span. it's not intended to promote us in any way. >> when did that switch? >> about seven years ago. interestingly, ironically, the effect it has been we're much more respected now now that we're not talking about our own stuff. people trust us to objectively scribe the cases. to just being out there to give
them the straight scoop and access to the briefs and what all the cases are and i think people have really appreciated it. >> the general public, people watching tonight, who are not expertings on the court -- experts on the court and not lawyers. what in it for them on the scotus blog? >> we're focused on them much more we've been. we started a site for lawyers. we talk the way that we talk as attorneys. over the past three or four years, we've come to understand it's actually the lawyers who can already best access what's going on on the court. there are 300 million other people in the country who are affected by the justice's decisions and we should be focusing on them. amy, for example, writes an entire feature called in plain english. lyle denniston always had a plain english summary of all the cases. we have on the big cases a discussion of this case made
simple. we really want -- this is the best example of how it has nothing to do with business development. there's nothing in it for us. we just are trying to put these technical legal concepts that have a big effect on people say, can the government track you using a gps advice without a warrant. can you patent genes including the gene that will let a test be made to tell whether you are susceptible to breast cancer. those these have consequences for people in the context very technical legal case. we want to try and bring it down into language that everybody can understand. >> i'm going to show some video in a moment. before we do that, something put you on the map last year. something called obamacare. how did that happen? >> of course, the supreme court was considering the constitutionality of the affordable care act, obamacare. at the end of the term what we
realized there's going to be unbelievable interest in the case. usually lyle at the supreme court on the phone describing the case. we thought, gosh that's not going to get the job done here. very complicated huge interest. we took seven people, set up nine different internet connections down at the court. as a combined group, over 30 supreme court cases it turned out at one time we had almost a million people on the website at once. the interest what was going on in the case was so high. >> this will set up a little bit on how the confusion came about with some of the other networks. it's from talking points memo we pulled this. [video clip] we have breaking news here on the fox news channel. >> hold on a second. kate got some information. tell us what's going on.
>> i want to bring you the breaking news. according to producer, the individual mandate is not valid exercise of the commerce clause. it appearses the supreme court justices has struck down the individual mandate, the center piece of the healthcare legislation. >> the individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional. >> i'm going to hop back on the find on try and get more information. >> we still trying to figure this out. be cautious with us. we're trying to do the best we can. >> it may take several minutes. >> this is a very confusing, very large opinion. >> what else are you learning cathy? >> we are reading now that the up law has been upheld wolf. >> why is there such a need to be first? >> there isn't such a need to be first. in a case like this one, everybody knew the day the case
was coming down. everybody knew that the law wouldn't take effect for two more years. there's a kind of unfortunate competition, a desire to be first. i think hopefully some lessons have been learned about that. we actually -- i have the opinion, i actually had a conference call that had on it almost all of the networks and newspapers and the white house. i told them, look i'm going to put this on mute. it's much more important to get it right. we're talking about the difference between one minute more. i think, lot of money was made in laws because of some networks having it wrong and the wire services having it right. i hope that we've come to understand that take a breath, especially when it's super complicated in the way the healthcare decision was when there were a lot of different legal issues. tell people accurately -- otherwise what we've had was crisis of
confidence in some networks and the press generally. you don't get to take it back and people don't really understand that this was an honest and fair mistake. they think you're not reliable. >> what did you do differently? >> well, i said, look i'm going to take personal responsibility for this. if we're going pout something on the website saying what happened to the case, i will do it myself after consulting with my colleagues. either i'll be right or wrong. what i figured what happened, i went through a second time to make sure that i was right and there wasn't some nuance that i was missing. i think the things that we did differently, we were patient. we weren't trying to be first. we double checked things and we had experts. the reporters involved worked very hard on the case. cnn team fox teams and other
team have done dozens of other interviews. nonetheless their general interest press rather than people who have been deeply involved in the legal question. we had adjust natural advantage. >> we've got some very old video of lyle denniston at the time he was with the "baltimore sun." he's probably in his early 50s there. he's now 81 years old. does he work everyday for you? >> he works 14 hours a day. he works through the weekend. amy who is the editor and reviews every piece, is editing stuff of his saturday, and sunday. i never seen him. the interesting thing you have somebody 81 years old, when he started working with us, we'd have typed up sheets about the cases but has embraced the internet and the technology in the way that's unimaginable. >> here he is in 1985. [video clip] >> the reporters will show up in greater numbers on the days when the supreme court issues decisions and orders.
that's in the u.p.i.'s there. that's the associated press reporters and their computer and their video display terminal and decorated with the artifacts and the individual experience obviously. most of the reporters will show up at the court on the days when the court has opinions and orders. this is the work space that you're looking at now where we actually set up typewriters on use our telephones. is in a room where we will receive our opinions on the days when they're released. mostly that isn't a very heavy activity until about may or june. the court hears arguments beginning in october but doesn't get busy with issue and final decision until springtime. >> i don't think on the court still there. >> it has changed a lot once
john paul stevens left the court, there was a big generational turnover. >> what is the controversy over -- i understand it's changed getting lyle denniston credentials. >> for a long time, couple things, the supreme court, unlike other governmental institutions, doesn't issue its own trespass. it has a press office. but it's a small body and they don't really have the time to go through and deal with the request. they use the senate. if you have a senate press pass. the senate is struggling what to do with new media. we're a personal puzzle because -- special puzzle because we're practicing lawyers as well. after we requested several times, they a couple weeks ago issued a press pass. we were in line which i think is
a good thing. objectively, we had the biggest effort to cover the supreme court ever. it's nice recognition they treat us as a member of the press. >> people love to write about your other thing you do in your life. i'll bring it up. you just come back from a difficult time in mexico. >> i did. i had the good chance to go skiing out in utah. i hurt my knee and then went on spring break with our wonderful two daughters amy who are married. my knee and leg was stable. i had blod clots in my leg and one -- i was in the i.c.u. there and eventually we got me an ambulance back to the united
states. it has been an adventure for the past month or so. >> what's this business about you and the ferrari and the race in las vegas? >> rather than focusing on being a supreme court litigator. it seem like it would be fun to do some other things. i did have a little bit of race car and did some drag racing out there. always good to mix things up. it's not really what people who do what i do, supreme court litigators tend to do. they tend to be super smart but stayed people. that is not what people generally would say about me. >> you mentioned that you went to american university in washington and got your law degree there at night. >> i actually didn't go at night. i was originally admitted into the evening program. that's true. like a day before school started, a seat opened up in the day program. >> people write about the fact that supreme court justices go
to harvard, yale and stanford. six catholics and three jews. it's a their group. >> may be unfortunately so. >> is it possible that you're not accepted you we were in the beginning because you weren't from one of those big schools? >> sure. i didn't work in the supreme court and the general office. there is a felt sense in almost any group that this is what people who do this look like. i hadn't gone to their school and i love my school dearly and i'm incredibly fortunate to go there. it's a fantastic place. i didn't work in the jobs that everybody else who does this did. the other thing is that i made a practice very early on of going after cases to say, look, your four year lawyer and people will not exactly knock the door down to ask you to handle their supreme court case. if i was going to get in
involved in the practice, i would have to go out and find them. at the time in the late 1990s, that was totally unheard of. it's a very stayed institution. things don't change very much. people are extremely reserved. i respect that. people are used to if you gone to harvard, yale or sanford, then cases are going to come to you. they were not used to somebody who was going out and chasing down business. >> how did you end up beginning cold call? explain that. >> what i did i realized that because the practice was so stayed, that people weren't finding opportunities and the supreme court's practice of taking cases, there are really two stages of supreme court cases. you have to ask the justices to hear your case and they hear it. the practice of asking them -- there's pretty much a formula
for which cases they will take involved disagreements around the country. i can read a decision of a court of appeals and tell you accurately this is something that might interest the supreme court. i found bunches of cases where if the party that lost only ask the supreme court to hear it, they probably would. i went to the lawyers in those cases and said i can help you get in the door. the first work that i did at the supreme court, i did basically for free. i argued my first eight cases of the supreme court over the course of three years. i was paid a total of $8000 to do all of that legal work over three years. >> why would do you that? >> well, it was the only way to get from there to here. there was -- nobody would take a young lawyer with the level of experience and knowledge that i had and said i want to give you an important commercial supreme court case. i needed to learn more about
what i was doing, ashow i was capable of doing it. over the course of three years, we started the blog after that long and also i had the idea -- i had cornered by then the work on free supreme court litigation. it turns out the supreme court litigation will not pay the mortgage. i had to move to doing some paying work. i had all the free work and i thought how am i going to get this done. i started with some colleagues supreme court clinics at stanford and harvard. i ended up getting that credential in that way. >> it's interesting that you do teach. you teach at harvard and at stanford. >> i just stopped teaching at stanford. i did that for 10 years. >> why would stanford and harvard accept you and not the pedigree they're used to? >> i think those places, in terms of people who teach there, it's true lot of their
professors are their own graduates. they're really looking for people with experience. particularly when it comes to the lectures and the full time 10 year faculty. i had shown over the course of those three or four years, i would build up this supreme court practice and give the students the opportunity to work on them. thing about the classes student work on actual supreme court cases. they're not just practice. they are really working for clients. what i had decided based on my own experience, if i can do this, it doesn't actually take a rocket scientist to do it. i can involve the students. i think law school appreciated that. >> back to a moment to the $8000 over eight cases. who did you represent? >> i represented all kind of people. criminal defendants and
individual lawyers. the supreme court sign so few cases. beggars cannot be choosers when it comes to arguing supreme courts cases. if you sit back and say, i do patent cases for the defendant, there's going to be one of those cases every year or two or three at most. you can't really afford to be that picky and that specialist. i'm a specialist in that institution. i think i understand those people, which isn't unbelievely complicated specialist. >> what's the first thing you taught somebody? >> it takes a of effort. you have to largely throw out everything that you did in the lower court and start again because they're expectations are so incredibly high for the level of research. >> what do you tell people about chief justice john roberts?
>> he knows the court may be better than anybody. he lived his entire life there. he was law clerk to chief justice wrangler. he was by far the most respected private lawyer when he was here in washington representing people at the supreme court. now he's the chief justice. he cares about the institution. when people talk about the healthcare vote and whatever happened there a secret matter inside the court, one thing is he would have voted the way he thought the law should be decided. he cares about the country's respect for the institution. >> but didn't like what you were doing in the beginning. >> it's true. remember i said that people were not used to people going after cases. he was someone who was the most respected advocate of his generation. i think that for him and for a lot of people that somebody chasing work, was not the way it
should be done. i don't know he felt at all strongly about it. he was quoted one time saying that. >> we need to introduce the audience amy howe. you've been marrieded how long? >> we've been married for going on 17 or 18 years. >> the original law firm. >> is actually goldstein and howe. amy is not practicing law. >> where did she go to school? >> she went to gorgetown. >> how old are the kids. >> 10 and 6. [video clip] >> the next justice, the most senior justice is justice john paul stevens. he put out the liberal view
right away. he is in the majority and chief justice roberts is on the other side which is not as frequent in the hotly contested cases of the court. he gets to assign that opinion. he can assign that opinion to himself as he's done in some high profile cases, or he can assign it to one of the swing justices to make sure that he keep that's swing justice in the majority and that swing justice doesn't switch over to the other side. >> when you think about those early days, you were operating out of your third bedroom now laundry room in your house, amy howe what other thing you remember about the struggles? >> well, it was a totally different world. we were a young couple. the blogs 10 matches up with the birth of our first child. getting to know this town.
getting to know the practice. getting accepted. it was an extremely exciting but uncertain time. it's like for anybody starting a family and starting a business. we were starting a couple of them. later on top of that this thing in the internet back in the day. the scotus blog was just starting. we are casting a road map. >> what did you learn from her being an intern? >> everything. she really exposed me to everything about the institution. nice thing about that job, you get to go everywhere with her. you go to the court, you go with her to interviews. you go with her to meet senators and representatives. she gave me kind of a real genuine feel for the institution. then taught me the basics. she knows everything. at that point i was only able to
absorb what it is to be a reporter. i grew up inside the press corps rather than inside the group of lawyers. i interned for her twice and i got know all the members of the press. they taught me so much about how it is you explain something like the supreme court. >> you say capable television people don't have any problem talking about what you do but the print press won't promote you. >> i think that the print press has a harder time knowing what to do with us as we get more prominent. there are some part of the print press say the "new york times" is incredibly confident and doesn't mind citing us. there are other places that i think are worried about -- are they actually promoting a competitor. washington post doesn't go out and say the new york times says. we're a puzzle on a lot of
different levels. we try very hard to promote all of the traditional press. we have a round up of everything they've doing on twitter which we're involved with. everybody is feeling their way forward. >> i read in the piece in the atlantic on you, he wears the same dark suits they do. meaning the people from stanford, harvard and other places. and is deceptively bland looking physically slight with slender fingers and thinning hair. >> we've gone well pass that. >> i want to show a couple of your youtube moments where you are using the tom goldstein humor. >> i suppose. >> let's watch. [video clip] >> have you been victim of gross racial discrimination? >> the press victim of an outrageous lower court ruling taking your case to the supreme
court is your constitutional right and i can help. you see, i'm a member of the supreme court bar. that's the select group of attorneys permitted by law to practice before the justices. filing brief and presenting moral argument. these folks include the briefs in all the case it's i file. in that time i argued 18 cases on a wide range of important federal law questions. i teach supreme court litigation. at stanford law school in california, as well as harvard law school in massachusetts. i've been called, the nation's premier supreme court advocate. i speak regularly at the nation's most prestigious law schools. i even hob knob with the justices themselves. >> people in the legal business, just can't like that. >> i don't really care.
>> when did you do that? >> i did that in my office. i think people who do a lot of serious things in this town take themself way too seriously. i don't i think walk on water. i really enjoy what i do. i feel it's a privilege and i don't mind making light of what it is that i and other people who have this job do. we are lawyers and we represent people. if we can't really have fun with it what's the point. >> what did you rule on bush v. gore? >> i represented the vice president. i had the great opportunity to work with lawrence tribe, the famous harvard law school professor who was working deeply with the case and worked with david boies and i second chaired the case. i managed it along with amy for the vice president. i was in charge of lot of the
logistics. >> what is your won and lost record? >> 15 and 13. >> 15 won and 13 loss. >> they were sprit pretty evenly. there were cases that are 9-0 one way or the other. it means that my 6-year-old could have won the case and i lost my share of 9-0 cases. the one that you sweat are the ones that's 5-4. >> lot of justices suggest the oral arguments make a difference. >> it depends on what we're talking about. if you say how often does a justice change their mind because of the oral argument. probably not terribly infrequent. to make a difference in the outcome it has to be a justice who is in that group of five switching over to a group that
was four. the oral argument can make a big difference how they decide the case, how they write the opinion. by the time they get to oral argument, they fought a ton about the case. they met with their staff but they haven't gotten may be into the level of thinking about how they would write an opinion with their colleagues who they haven't talked to. >> here is another one of your youtubes. here's tom goldstein. [video clip] >> washington has been abuzz with the historic confirmation of justice sonia sotomayor. i correctly predicted justice sotomayor. thankfully nobody remembers those posts. i'm not saying that i deserve all of the credit for justice
sonya sotomayor's confirmation. that matters because no publication is so devoted to the comprehensive coverage of the intersection between politics and power in america as g.q. magazine. >> where did you develop your sense of humor? >> i would say it'll a work in progress. i think it is a little bit -- i like to talk in front of people. if you're really stayed and boring and tired, then you're not going to have a good experience. my big thing is high school and college student was debate. public speech has been part of my favorite. >> where did you grow up? >> i grew up a lot of places on the east coast. i was born in new jersey,
princeton. lived wherever around new jersey. there was rutgers campus. my mom and dad, my folks moved to south carolina and i lived in a variety of places. south carolina and florida and so, i'm an east coaster. >> what did your parents do or are they doing? >> they are a doctor and lawyer. a doctor in south carolina. my dad helped me get through and my mom is a lawyer in new york. >> where did she get her law degree? >> she got her law degree at rutgers. >> when did you know you wanted to be a lawyer? >> in utero. i can't imagine a time when i didn't think i wanted to be a lawyer from being a kid early on. although not doing this. lot of people think of themselves being lawyers as trial lawyers and perry mason type of stuff. that's what i thought i would be. >> go back to, you said you couldn't get into law school, whatever 20 years ago.
your mother's aunt or your mother's cousin helped you. how often is that possible? >> well, you have to have the good fortune to know the right people. the amazing thing is -- there are a lot of people that look the same. one of the thing i come to recognize so much is personal relationships. the tieds that you build and the colleagues that you have, they will go to bat for you and vouch for you makes all the difference in the world. i got lucky. >> i want to show you video that we did, you may have seen this, with just briar when he took us around his office and see what you can add to this. this is in his office in the supreme court. kind of explaining the paper trail on cases. here's justice briar. [video clip] >> of those 80,000 cases, 8000 ask us each year to hear the case.
that means about 150 a week. 150 requests to hear the case. here they are for this week. so what we do is read through these and we all read all of them, then we vote. we meet at conference and we vote. if there are nine you have us who want to hear any of these cases, we'll hear it. you might wonder how can i read all of these in one week. i like to say i'm so clever but that isn't the reason. what we do with these, it would be possible for one person to read all of these every week. one of the things is we have a pool for most of us. there are about 30 clerks and 30
clerks will divide these and the clerks will read five or six. they can do that and they can do it thoroughly. if would have to skim through this, may be i would think this petition -- like somebody here writing here and using a scroll. if i had to read 150, i wouldn't necessarily find that. by reading five or six are going to find out whether there is a case that we should hear. >> you said earlier that you've been in court for 20 years. what do you know about the court when you write the petitions, either petition or even the breeze, what do you know about putting that language on there that will make a difference for somebody like justice breyer.
>> i'm not confident to do a lot of things. you wouldn't want me to do a deposition. i wouldn't want me to stand up in front of trial judge and do a trial. i've been doing one thing for 15 years. i got nine people know what it is they're looking for. we got the website and law school classes. i really understand that. that's the value that somebody like me at. it doesn't mean you come to the supreme court and you need a supreme court lawyer to argue your case. if you're talking to any one, what you really want and you trying to persuade them, you want somebody who know that's person really well. that's the role of a person like me. >> what do you know about antonin scalia? >> i know a ton about -- what he thinks about the constitution. he's written about different statutes and the things he finds
most persuasive. he's a way more complicated person than people think. people thinks he's super conservative. he's an incredibly principled guy first and foremost. a lot of his constitutional rulings favor criminal defendants he reads critical decisions about your right to a jury trial, your right to confront witnesses against you. in a broad way. >> what about justice breyer? >> i thought that was beautiful. justice breyer by the way is recovering from another serious biking accident. having shoulder replacement surgery which sounds awful. he really loves to explain. he really cares that people understand the law and its fullest and he's been writing books about the law and the constitution and his perspective is the opposite of justice
scalia. justice scalia has a clear sense and particular way to read the constitution. justice breyer is a pragmatist. he will take different pieces of the puzzle of how to interpret a provision of the constitution to assemble something. >> i know you have opinions on this, let's let justice scalia talk about it first and we'll come back to you on television in the courtroom. [video clip] >> if you know what real business is , should there a right to this or that or should there a right to abortion. that's not usually what we're doing. we usually dealing with the internal revenue code, with patent law and all sorts of stuff that only a lawyer could understand and perhaps get interested in. if the american people saw all of that, they would be educated. but they wouldn't see all of
that. we got to be sure. most of the american people would say, 15 second takeouts from our arguments and those takeouts won't be characteristic. >> what we see is an article in a newspaper that's out of context. >> that's fine. people read that and say it's an article in the newspaper and the guy maybe misinformed. somehow when you see it live an expert pulled out when you see it live, it has a greater impact. >> is he right? >> i always get myself in trouble. no he's not. it's uncomfortable place for somebody practices in front of the court to say the justices have it wrong. they fought a ton about it. i think the experience of other
courts in the united states and other countries is directly to the contrary. i disagree what we started with, which is if people saw their supreme court on c-span, if they saw it on the internet, they would respect it more not less. the justices treasure and value and they do their jobs better when they are largely anonymous. they don't stay entirely entirely anonymous. it is so hard to get to see the supreme court when there are 150 public seats. it's super expensive to come to washington d.c. people would understand and appreciate the admire the supreme court more. even if they didn't, it's the country's right. the american public deserves to get to see the institution in operation. >> last several justices at
their confirmation hearing suggested they're in favor of television. all of a sudden we hear, now, not good idea. >> there are a couple things going on. the first is once you get inside the institution, you better understand why it is they've been resistant to it. the new justices have probably moved some. second, you have to understand that the justices really prefer to operate by consensus. until there valley a sole -- really is a solid majority for change, i would be surprised any justice came out saying there should be cameras. they think about the issue a lot. they continue to talk about it. they continue to learn from the experience of other courts. it's just going to take another generation. it will change and they will eventually televise it >> peter irons gets credit for breaking this log jam on the audio. here he is testifying in 2005.
[video clip] >> until 1986 there was no restriction for the access on the tapes. chief justice berger imposed restrictions limiting to private research and teaching. i decided in 1991 having heard some of these tapes when i was in law school, that it would be a good educational project to make them available to the public, particularly for use in school. >> we now have audio the same week. >> yes, this is essentially the court's compromise. it has listened to the public and interest in hearing what it is they're doing. there's transcripts the same day within a couple hours of the argument and we have the audio the same week on the friday. i think that probably the compromise here is the practical one that is the court believe that's they are making the audio
available quickly but not quickly enough to make it on the evening news. >> why are they afraid of that? >> afraid might be too strong. they sincerely believe what justice scalia said. what's going on in the moral argument is to and fro on very complicated things and there's a tendency from the media to pick out things that can be hilarious and can get in the face of lawyers sometimes that would raise the most public interest. it's an irony that the court so treasures, the media and press and first amendment. when it comes to what happens to them, they are more suspicious. >> how much of all of this do you archive on your website? >> we have all of the briefs and we don't try and do everything related to the supreme court. there's a wonderful project called the oi yaz project. it has done incredible work with the project.
archiving it and matching it up with the transcript. on friday, they post the audio on the blog. >> who is oi yaz? >> it's a project formally done by a production name jerry goldman that is another public service. >> northwestern? >> it's at chicago. it's another university and they have entire project devoted to it. they now collected and gone all the way back all the audio that's available from the decades to make them publicly available. the justices feel about this, the oral argument audio isn't anything formally important. it's the decisions that matter. what the oi yaz project recognize, it's still part of the process. it's a fascinating insight. i think they're right when you go to oral argument, where the justicings are asking questions before they've met together, you
get the most unadulterated view of what that particular person thinks before they come together and agree on some kind of least common denominator view. >> how many people work for scotus blog? >> we've got about four full time staff. we've got another part time staff around 15 or 20 people. we have another 100 people who contribute during the year. it's gone from me and amy sitting in the bedroom and clicking away to whole enterprise it probably cost us $5000 the first year and year seven quarter million dollars a year. money doesn't tell you a ton except it gives you a sense of scale. >> what does bloomberg law have to do with it? >> bloomberg law has is unbelievably good to us. it's a gettor of lexington wes
law, wants to use the opportunity to get its name out there. on top of that, just thinks the blog is a public good. they let us do our thing. they think it's good to have a relationship with us but they just want to be supportive. they make everything possible in terms of the finances of it. they give us access to all of their online material and they give the public access. >> is it a for profit company? >> it is, >> how many lawyers are there in your law firm >> in the law firm there are about four lawyers but one part time, three full time and amy is now really focused exclusively on the blog. >> are you still co-calling? >> much less. as you get better known, people tend to come to you. whereas before i would say, in
the beginning, nine out of the ten cases i would do will be a situation where i went after the case. now one out of the ten. if i see an opportunity out there, i will go after it. now if someone has one of those cases where court appeals deciding es -- decide something, they will contact it by 10 or 15 lawyers. >> who's the best advocate you've ever seen before the supreme court beside yourself? >> i'm not even -- i don't make the list. the two best john roberts, paul clement and mahoney. in terms of standing up there presenting from the private bar. the government has some unbelievable lawyers. there are two deputies solicitor generals, michael who does the
criminal justice for the government and blows you away. you just learn so much from being around them. >> is there more interruptions today than there was 20 years ago? >> i can't even measure it. every single justice joined the supreme court ask more questions than the one for them for decades now. it's reached sustainable proportions. the justices all recognize that but don't have a way. political science call it collective action problem. they can't agree on way of dialing it back. justice thomas spoken it's one of the reasons it doesn't ask questions. our job is to go up there and answer their questions as best we can. but they -- when you're getting asked four questions a minute, it's hard to tell something coherent. >> did hear you say, something i was listening to that the rnc
impacted the way the court releases the tape? >> what happened was everybody remembers that oral arguments when the administration was defending the statute, the solicitor general was criticized. he drunk a glass of water and it went into his lungs. the rnc decided to make fun of that and immediately produced one of these web only commercials. it was never going to be on tv but it got a lot of attention. the justices, i think looked at that and said, this is exactly what we're concerned about. you take something out of context, use it to make fun and not take seriously bring down the institution. it's a good illustration and it's a valid point. they said that cause back. >> here's another one and the final one of your videos on
youtube. [video clip] >> finally i recognize that some naysayers will say that i concocted these events to draw attention to the television series that nbc is producing about my life and practice which now has working title "the real supreme court litigators of"." that is not so. may be you're perfect but i'm just a human being. everyday i wake up with just one goal. that's to make the millions of other americans who like me graduated from college with not quite the average look good. i think it's working. >> those are your -- >> i think that if we can lower the bar to people thinking supreme court is this
inaccessible institution and make them feel like they understand the place will have accomplished something. >> general public watching says, how do i get to all of this? how do i get to scotus.com? >> fantastic thing about the internet. if you put in scotus blog, my name or whatever search engine you're using, we'll take you straight there. i got to do the daily show, john stewart said the scotus blog, how do people find it. it's the internet. once you get to the front, you'll be able to search for particular cases. >> john stewart is one of the reasons you'll never have television. >> it's the reason probably. >> why?
>> he is unbelievely funny and he can cut like a dagger and uses video effectively. the justices are incredibly serious people doing unbelievably important work. that's not how he comes at it. he brings everybody down to earth. uses it to the ends he thinks are appropriate in making fun of it and big important institutions. and having video of the justices, oral argument he can slice and dice, it's something they think would be awful. they've got a point, to a point. the difficulty with that argument is there are still the 95% other times when people would look at that institution and see gosh, they're taking this really seriously. >> you still get nervous when you stand in front of the court? >> i never got nervous. i probably be a better lawyer if
i did. it might drive me to prepare even more. this is the one place that i know. i came to understand it during law school, i decided this is what i wanted to be and so standing up there in front of them is more home to me than almost anything else i do. >> you grew up in north carolina and undergraduate degree in what? >> political science. >> somebody watching this thing. i want to do what tom goldstein do. what's the recommendation? >> nobody should try and be me. they should really try and be whatever it is they love, they wake up in the morning and so excited to have the company to do. for me that's the supreme court and it could be anything. if you're a lawyer, it could be immigration, or a doctor or politics. that's how they'll be great. i'm not saying i'm great. i'm as good as i can be. i couldn't be happier doing this.
they should not believe that because they didn't go to one of the top three schools in the country that that's the end and they'll never be at the top of their game. if you do what it is you love, you can find something you're the best in. >> we're going to put on the screen a caricature or drawing art layne. we've known for years at nbc. >> he principlely works for nbc. he's a sketch artist. he's been covering the court for decades. scotus blog is a little bit boring visually. >> i wanted everybody to know that is a caricature of an empty chair where justice breyer would sit. >> justice breyer was hurt. you're seeing the edge of the
chief justice. >> why do they allow this in the court? >> this has been going on since the 1800. i don't think they can put a stop to it. they're not afraid of people seeing a sketch of the supreme court. i think that's not out of context. that happened. that doesn't have the downside. by the way, it's a little bit of an illustration to use the phrase, of how it is they are trying to do as much as they can without the cameras. moving up the audio. sketch artist in print and publication, they haven't gotten over the hump with video. >> you're a predictor from time to time. president obama gets another appointment to the supreme court, who would it be? >> i think it will be -- who knows what it is she will do.
i think he'll definitely appoint another women. going from three women on the court back to two will be unfortunate in the view of a lot of people including the president. then who knows, it won't be for a couple years. my reading is the attorney general of california tamala harris. >> tom goldstein, thank you very much for your time. >> thank you for having me. >> for dvd copy of this program, call 1(877)662-7726 for free transcripts or give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org.
"q&a" programs are available at c-span podcast [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> next president obama tours tornado daniel in moore, oklahoma. then members of the european parliament debate a trade deal with the u.s. at 11:00 p.m. another chance to see "q&a" with scotus blog co-founder tom goldstein. tomorrow on washington journal, we focus on veterans and military issues. navy academies bruce fleming talks about bridging military civilian divide. kathleen moakler plains how the federal government helps prepare families who are heading
overseas. randy plunkett he looks at availability of jobs for veterans from returning from iraq and afghanistan. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> after president grover cleveland lose his bid for reelection his wife tells the staff. grip you take care of all the ornaments in the house. i want to find everything just as it is now when we come back again four years from today. >> they did return from the white house winning the selection in 1892. as we continue our series on first lady. live monday night at 9:00 eastern on c-span, c-span 3, c-span radio and c-span.org. >> now president obama in moore, oklahoma to survey the damage from last week's tornado.